Happy International Vegan day!

hey there,

It’s been almost three years I’m following vegan lifestyle and today I would like to talk about my experience, pros and cons of being a vegan in Armenia, a country where mostly all national dishes are, to put it mildly, non vegan-friendly.

Before saying bye-bye to meat and dairy products, I read hundreds of articles and watched thousands of videos. Most of them would say “it’s not a one day plan, no one can become vegan in a day, you should start with baby steps, become a vegetarian first, and then see the reaction of your body…”. For me it took like a second, there was kind of a click in my head. I was watching a ted talk about food marketing and meat production and I just said “I’m becoming a vegan”. I’ve not eaten meat or drunk non-plant-based milk from that moment.

I was living in Germany at that time and it didn’t feel like a huge step, it was normal there, I wasn’t seen like an alien. I could go to a supermarket and find the vegan section, buy soy milk produced a day before. A week after becoming a vegan I traveled to Amsterdam and I found a vegan-friendly store at every corner of the city: vegan cookies, vegan chocolate, vegan sausage? OMG, people!!! I was happy.

Vegan breakfast in Amsterdam

Then I moved back to Armenia. And here all the colors seemed gray and green was not even mentioned. Eat some dolma (meat wrapped in cabbage), here is some barbeque, enjoy the meat, your body needs protein… And I kind of was seen as someone following to fashion, someone who says she is vegan, because that’s a way to show off or pretend she is unique. Frankly, that hurt.

One day Antranig found a store, where I could buy soy milk, and that was one of the happiest days of my life. Of course, I’m not the only vegan here in Armenia, but there was not much of demand for vegan products, and the milk we bought was produced like three-four months ago.

Found my first plant based milk in Yerevan

These days it has become much better. I can buy plant based milk in every store, we’ve even found vegan cookies, which I love, most cafes and restaurants have updated their menus, and you can see that little “leaf” sign, which means the dish is vegan friendly. And there are already three vegan cafes (don’t dare to laugh), where you can find every kind of delicious food: pizza, salads, soup and even famous Armenian traditional dishes, like the above mentioned dolma (of course, made with a vegan recipe).

I’ve started to cook more and explored new vegan recipes, found amazing food bloggers. Marianna is from Armenia. She and her husband Garik Papoyan, who is a famous musician here have been vegans for like five years already which made them one of the first vegans in the country. I’ve tried Marianna’s recipe of vegan omelet and loved it. Another famous vegan food blogger is pick up limes . Saying I love their work and passion will be saying nothing. I’ve tried most of their recipes while living in Germany (sadly, it’s not easy to find all the products here, and it costs a fortune to buy 100 grams of tofu for example).

Vegan homemade cookies

My struggle is not done, unfortunately. People look, they stare, they ask, I explain, they laugh, I smile, they talk, I don’t care. As every change and every new thing, this also needs time for people to adjust. I’ll live and I’ll see the day, when you don’t have to ask, if they have plant based milk for the coffee, you are sure they do. Who knows, maybe they will even ask: “what kind of milk do you prefer”? John Lennon would say: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one….”

I thought it’s supposed to be easier…

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